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Decomposed bodies of elderly couple found inside East of Kailash flat

The couple had registered themselves as senior citizens with the Delhi Police and were last visited by a constable on January 19.

delhi Updated: Jan 29, 2019 08:44 IST
Karn Pratap Singh
Karn Pratap Singh
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
crime,delhi police,elderly couple found dead in east of kailash
Mount Kailash apartments in East of Kailash where the elderly couple was found dead on Saturday, Jan 26, 2019, in their ninth floor flat. Police say there were no signs of a forced entry.(Biplov Bhuyan/HT Photo )

The decomposed bodies of an elderly couple were found inside their flat in south Delhi’s East of Kailash on Saturday. The woman’s hands were tied in front. Her husband lay dead on the floor next to the bed. There were many naphthalene balls near their bodies. The police have launched a probe to find if it is a suicide or murder.

Police said that the couple — identified as Virender Kumar Khaneja, 77, who had retired as a senior manager of a multi-national consumer goods company and his wife Sarla, 72, a home maker — lived alone in the Mount Kailash apartment, with their elder son, a doctor settled in the US. The couple’s younger son had died of natural causes in 2017.

The couple had registered themselves as senior citizens with the Delhi Police and were last visited by a constable on January 19.

The police, more than 36 hours after the incident having come to light, said that they were probing if the man murdered his wife before killing himself. They, however haven’t recovered a suicide note. Though the door was locked from inside, and there wasn’t any sign of a forced entry — suggesting the role of an intruder — police have not ruled out the possibility of murder. Investigating officers are also probing if anyone had spare keys to the flat. Police suspect that excessive consumption of naphthalene balls — some of which were found scattered near the bodies — could be one of the reasons behind the couple’s deaths, but are waiting for the autopsy report before drawing any conclusion.

Police said prima facie it does not appear that the couple was depressed.

They had recently purchased a car and were socially active.

“It is certainly a case of unnatural death. We are trying to ascertain the circumstances under which the couple died. As of now an inquest proceeding under section 174 of the code of criminal procedure (CrPC) has been initiated,” said Chinmoy Biswal, deputy commissioner of police (southeast).

“The bodies have been preserved in the mortuary. The autopsy will be conducted once the couple’s son, Amit Khaneja, arrives and claims the bodies,” he added.

Neighbours told police they had last seen the couple on January 19. A CCTV camera recording of January 18 also shows the couple near their flat.

DCP Biswal said that on Saturday around 10.30am, the police control room received a call regarding an elderly man, a resident of Mount Kailash apartments, not answering his phone. The caller identified himself as a distant relative of the couple. The caller told the police that the last telephonic conversation he had with the couple was on January 16.

“The relative told us that the couple’s mobile phone numbers had been unreachable since January 16. After he came to the Amar Colony police station and gave the couple’s residential address, we sent a team to the flat,” said a police officer, who asked not be named. The officer said that the front and back entry doors of the flat were locked from inside. A police team then climbed on to a neighbour’s balcony to reach the balcony of the couple’s flat. They broke open the door and a foul smell immediately hit them. “The woman’s hands were tied. Her body was lying on the floor next to the bed. Her husband’s body was on the floor on the other side of the bed. His hands or legs were not tied,” the officer said.

A woman living in the adjacent flat, who again did not wish to be named, said that they learnt about the elderly couple’s death only when the police came to break open the flat’s door on Saturday.

“The couple lived alone since their younger son, Sumit Khaneja, died of prolonged illness in 2017. They had gone to the US and returned after living with their elder son for around six months,” she said. The neighbour said that the couple had a part-time domestic help, who used to come to their house for cooking and other household chores. “We are questioning the domestic help to find out why she did not inform anybody in the apartment, even when she had found the house locked and the couple unreachable in the last one week,” said the officer.

First Published: Jan 28, 2019 09:03 IST

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